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Palestinians To Go Forward With U.N. Statehood Resolution

Mahmoud Abbas, the head of the Palestinian Authority, says today that he plans to go ahead with plans to ask the United Nations Security Council to approve the existence of a Palestinian State:

JERUSALEM — The Palestinian president announced Friday that he would seek membership for a Palestinian state at the United Nations Security Council next week, a move strongly opposed by Israel and the United States that adds significant tension to one of the most intractable conflicts in the Middle East.

The move by the president, Mahmoud Abbas, constitutes a new Palestinian strategy 20 years after the start of peace negotiations with Israel, which have failed to produce an agreement. It confirmed an approach that frustrated Palestinian officials have been moving toward for months.

American, Israeli and European diplomats have struggled to dissuade Mr. Abbas and his aides from taking such a step, and his decision to proceed anyway represents what could become a foreign policy debacle for the Obama administration.

“We need to have full membership at the U.N.,” Mr. Abbas said in his announcement during a speech at his headquarters in Ramallah in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, broadcast live on Al Jazeera and other outlets. “We need a state, a seat at the United Nations.”

He added: “We are going to the Security Council,” as Palestinian dignitaries gave him a rousing applause and standing ovation. Mr. Abbas called it “our decision, which we have conveyed to everyone.”

The United States has said it will use its veto at the Security Council to stop any Palestinian statehood bid, adhering to the American-Israeli view that the only way to achieve peace is through direct talks between the Palestinian Authority and Israel. Each side maintains that the other presents the obstacles to negotiations.

The office of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel issued a brief statement after the speech, saying “Peace will not be achieved by a unilateral approach to the United Nations.”

John Cole worries that the inevitable American veto will set the stage for another round of disaster in the Middle East. Sadly, this may end up being true, although much of Gaza and West Bank is arguably on a such a tinderbox right now that it wouldn’t take much for another round of protests and bombings to start, which will of course be responded to by Israel with more crackdowns.

But, what other option is there?

Even if you agree that Palestinian statehood is both inevitable and necessary, a unilateral action like this, with little more than the grudging support of the United Nations, doesn’t strike me as being much of a positive development. Israel isn’t going to accept it, and without a resolution of borders and questions about the status of Jerusalem it’s not going to accomplish much of anything other than reinforcing the Israeli perception that they are standing alone against the world. I tend to agree that the current Israeli government has been needlessly intransigent in dealing with the Palestinians, but then so have the Palestinians. Half of the territory that would make up this Palestinian State is currently controlled by an organization that refuses to recognize Israel’s right to exist and has launched acts of terror against it. I can’t say I blame Israel for refusing to negotiate with them until they repudiate both of these positions. In fact, that’s exactly what the PLO had to do before Israel sat down and came up with the first real agreements between the parties 20 years ago. If Hamas cares about governing rather than killing Jews, they can do the same.

It’s also worth noting a little bit of history. The United Nations Resolution that led to the creation of Israel was  only the beginning of the process. Rather than accept the U.N.’s partition plan, which created a Jewish and a Palestinian State and made Jerusalem an International City, the Arab world decided to make war against the Jewish state. It was only after an eight month long war that the issue was resolved, and even that didn’t end the cycle of war that continued for another twenty years. The point? U.N. resolutions recognizing a new state aren’t going to accomplish anything unless all of the issues that statehood implicates are resolved beforehand.

I’m not going to pretend to know the answer to this solving this conflict, but I’m pretty sure that unilateral action by the United Nations isn’t it.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Ron Beasley says:

    This is an attempt to further discredit the US in the middle east. They have nothing to lose since Israel will never agree to a Palestinian State anyway since it’s not just about security, it’s about real estate and expansion . And don’t forget Israel was the result of terrorist activity in the first place. The creation of Israel guaranteed a state of constant war in the middle east.

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  2. Jay Tea says:

    Hey, wasn’t Israel’s withdrawal from the Gaza Strip condemned for being “unilateral?” Where are the same people who spoke up then?

    J.

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  3. Vast Variety says:

    There can be no peace as long as both sides refuse to budge. Hamas want’s Israel destroyed and refuses to acknowledge their right to existence, while Israel continues to occupy land that isn’t legally theirs and continues to sanction the equivalent of squatters camps in Palestinian lands.

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  4. Brett says:

    @Doug Mataconis

    I can’t say I blame Israel for refusing to negotiate with them until they repudiate both of these positions. In fact, that’s exactly what the PLO had to do before Israel sat down and came up with the first real agreements between the parties 20 years ago. If Hamas cares about governing rather than killing Jews, they can do the same.

    The PLO recognized Israel, and all they got was 20 years of failed negotiations, expanded settlements, and increasingly tight restrictions. I can’t blame Hamas for not rushing to get into that position, and for refusing to recognize Israel until the Israelis actually, seriously accept the fact that they’re going to have give up the West Bank, Gaza, and part of East Jerusalem if they don’t want to end up as a minority in a single state.

    @Doug Mataconis

    It’s also worth noting a little bit of history. The United Nations Resolution that led to the creation of Israel was only the beginning of the process. Rather than accept the U.N.’s partition plan, which created a Jewish and a Palestinian State and made Jerusalem an International City, the Arab world decided to make war against the Jewish state.

    That settlement awarded the majority of the land (including large areas where Arabs were overwhelmingly the majority of the population) to the Jewish population, who represented a minority of the population of Mandatory Palestine concentrated in a handful of areas. It would have been more shocking if the Palestinians and surrounding Arab countries hadn’t said, “Screw that!” and tried to invade.

    Seriously, Doug. It would be like if the US had inter-racial conflict between recent Mexican immigrants and the rest of the American population for two decades – at which point the UN shows up, divides the country in half along the Mason-Dixon Line, and says, “Everything south of this line shall be part of a Mexican Immigrant State/Aztlan.” Wouldn’t most Americans be pissed and refuse to accept that?

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  5. Brett says:

    EDIT: Make that the dividing line of the Missouri Compromise of 1820.

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  6. @Brett:

    It would be like if the US had inter-racial conflict between recent Mexican immigrants and the rest of the American population for two decades – at which point the UN shows up, divides the country in half along the Mason-Dixon Line, and says, “Everything south of this line shall be part of a Mexican Immigrant State/Aztlan.” Wouldn’t most Americans be pissed and refuse to accept that?

    Ironically, that’s pretty much how Texas got started, albeit in the other direction.

    Of course, now I’m thinking of the idea of “Palestinian Texas” which is a pretty damn scary concept.

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  7. I can’t say I blame Israel for refusing to negotiate with them until they repudiate both of these positions.

    I woudln’t blame Israel for refusing to negotiate either, IF they had also stopped expanding settlements so that at least the status quo was maintained. The problem is that Israel refuses to negotiate while also making it continually less and less likely negotiations can ever resume.

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  8. WR says:

    @Ron Beasley: It’s the great mistake of so many Americans to believe that everything that anyone does anywhere in the world is really all about us. I think the Palestinians — and the Israelis — have much greater issues here than making the US look bad…

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  9. ponce says:

    The Israelis now occupy 70% of the West Bank.

    45 years of negotiations haven’t really worked out that well for the Palestinians.

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  10. Modulo Myself says:

    How many millions years will it take for ‘libertarians’ reconcile their indignation with being forced by a government to contribute to the medical and financial welfare of others with their indignation about the lack of respect shown by people who live in a military/apartheid state for this very state?

    Answer: thirty-five.

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  11. Ron Beasley says:

    I think it’s years too late for any party to party talks to have any success. We can either force a solution on them or just sit around and see who is the last one standing.

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  12. Franklin says:

    What if everybody stopped pretending that there was such a thing as “holy” land and we moved one group or the other somewhere else? There’s enough desert for everybody.

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  13. Tlaloc says:

    If the US vetos then Obama’s an idiot. The Middle east is changing and it’s way past time we put a large amount of space between us and Israelis. We have nothing to gain by clinging to an abusive and genocidal “ally” like Israel, and everything to lose. The only way Israel will ever stop their belligerence is if they have to face some consequences for their actions, and that will only happen when we stop shielding them.

    So yeah let the vote go through, let Israel ignore it and then let them deal with the resulting economic and military repercussions alone. We’ve given way too much money and blood to protect them from their own worst nature.

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  14. @Tlaloc:

    The problem is that with the US the way it is, not vetoing would be career suicide for Obama. In fact, if he does let it go through, I’d not be suprised if HillaryClinton uses it as an excuse to resign and start running against him.

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  15. ponce says:

    The problem is that with the US the way it is, not vetoing would be career suicide for Obama.

    I can see why White Southerners might think that, but the Israeli’s version of Apartheid is extremely offensive to regular Americans.

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  16. @ponce:

    Unfortunately, that doesn’t fit reality:

    http://www.gallup.com/poll/146408/americans-maintain-broad-support-israel.aspx

    Currently 63% of the country sides with Israel (vs. 17% with the Palestinians) and that is currently trending in Israel’s favor. Likewise Israel maintains a 68% favorability rating (vs. 19% for the Palestinian Authority) again trending in Israel’s favor.

    And even if you take out republicans, democrats and independents favor Israel by 57%

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  17. @ponce:

    PS – I’ve lived in Pennsylvania my entire life.

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  18. ponce says:

    Currently 63% of the country sides with Israel

    With the Republicans controlling the House, you don’t have to tell me that normal Americans are in short supply these days, stormy.

    Fortunately for the Palestinians, two unpopular Republican wars have rendered America impotent in the foreign policy arena.

    That’s why there’s a constant stream of fringe right Israeli politicians flying to China to hump its leaderships’ legs…not that it will do them any good without oil reserves.

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  19. @ponce:

    two unpopular Republican wars have rendered America impotent in the foreign policy arena.

    Yes, but the President isn’t elected in the foreign policy arena, so again: not vetoing the Palestinian Authority as a full member of the UN would be political suicide for Obama. Whether that’s good or not, that’s simple reality of the current state of US domestic politics.

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  20. Jay Tea says:

    @ponce: I can see why White Southerners might think that, but the Israeli’s version of Apartheid is extremely offensive to regular Americans.

    Hey, jackwagon: the PLO Ambassador has announced that the Palestinian state will be Judenrein — not a single Jew will allowed to live there. And if they follow Hamas’ lead in Gaza, there won’t be any dead ones, either — they demanded Israel even dig up its cemeteries and take the bodies with them.

    Meanwhile, in Israel, there are Palestinians who even serve in the Knesset.

    Tell me again who’s the “apartheid” side again.

    J.

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  21. Tano says:

    @Jay Tea:

    the PLO Ambassador has announced that the Palestinian state will be Judenrein

    Actually, that is not true. He suggested that because of the decades of conflict, that may be the wise thing to do. A personal opinion, not an announcement of a government policy.

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  22. Tano says:

    The Israelis should really shake things up and take the bold step of voting FOR the Palestinian state. They say they are for it, eventually, so why not? Its not like they would be committing themselves to any details such as borders, or any other issue that will still need to be negotiated.

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  23. ponce says:

    Actually, that is not true.

    We all know that, but for some reason fringe right Americans like Jay Tea are compelled to lie about the Palestinians every chance they get.

    Whether that’s good or not, that’s simple reality of the current state of US domestic politics.

    I doubt it.

    The average American supporter of Israel couldn’t even find it on a map.

    And Entertainment Tonight doesn’t report on U.N. votes.

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  24. There is another problem: nobody exactly knows what “Palestine” is and one of the reasons that Israel is so unpopular in the Developing World is that people sees Israel as a colonial power oppressing Palestine. The Declaration of Human Rights that UN passed recognizes nationality as a Human Right, and Palestinians have no right to it.

    If Israel can´t accept that Palestine is to become a state then it should accept the people living there as citizens. The status quo is a slap in the face of international law.

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  25. Jay Tea says:

    There’s a part of me that hopes the Palestinians do get their state. Because once they do, the next terrorist attack then becomes an act of war. And the following thorough ass-kicking might finally beat some sense into the Palestinians.

    War is terrible, but it is not always the worst of all options.

    J.

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  26. Jay Tea says:

    @Tano: “After the experience of the last 44 years of military occupation and all the conflict and friction, I think it would be in the best interest of the two people to be separated.”

    So, then, I presume he’d favor the expulsion of all Palestinians from Israel, once their state is established? Kind of like how most of the Arab world got rid of their Jews once Israel was founded?

    So many people like mentioning how 800,000 Palestinians fled Israel on its founding — trusting in the promises of their Arab brethren to “get out of the way while we drive the Jews into the sea, then come back.” Hardly anyone wants to talk about the 800,000 Jews who fled Arab and Muslim nations — most with barely the clothes on their backs — to go to Israel.

    One of the reasons they aren’t mentioned is that they were granted full citizenship and started new lives, productive lives. The Palestinians were kept in “refugee camps” and denied any chance to do anything but be professional, perpetual victims so their Muslim brethren could constantly have a PR cudgel to use against Israel.

    J.

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  27. samwide says:

    Not to put to fine a point on it, but my recurring fear is that those crazy motherfvckers over there — on both sides — are going to get us all killed.

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  28. @samwide:

    Indeed

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  29. rodney dill says:

    @ponce:

    45 years of negotiations haven’t really worked out that well for the Palestinians.

    I guess they didn’t use enough rockets in their negotiations.

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  30. Just nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Ron Beasley: Exactly how will this “force a solution on them” thing work? I can’t see what you use to “force” the solution. And what does a “forced” solution look like? This has got to be one of the weirdest ideas I’ve ever seen on this site–and that’s saying a lot!

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  31. Tano says:

    @Jay Tea:

    So, then, I presume he’d favor the expulsion of all Palestinians from Israel, once their state is established?

    Why presume? Let the man speak for himself. I don’t believe he said anything of the kind.

    Kind of like how most of the Arab world got rid of their Jews once Israel was founded?

    Huh? Almost all of the people who emigrated to Israel did so very willingly. Y’know, 2000 years of “next year in Jerusalem”, and all that…

    One of the reasons they aren’t mentioned is that they were granted full citizenship and started new lives, productive lives. The Palestinians were kept in “refugee camps”

    The immigrants to Israel wanted to be there – they were “returning” to their ancestral homeland which they saw as their permanent home. The Palestinians were expelled from their homeland and had no desire to assimilate into a new country, they wanted to go back home.
    How can you be so clueless about these fundamental points? I wonder what your reaction would be if you were driven out of your home by, lets say, some native Americans who claimed that they used to live where your house is, hundreds (not thousands) of years ago. And lets also say that the native Americans had the full financial support of some superpower on the other side of the world – which means weapons by which they can enforce your exile.
    I bet you might even consider some violent resistance…

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  32. @rodney dill:

    This collective punishment attitude is Israel’s biggest problem. As long as they refuse to distinguish between Palestinian militants and Palestinian civilians, and insist on punishing the latter for the acts of the former, there’s no real reason for the civilians to support the peace process.

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  33. Jay Tea says:

    @Stormy Dragon: Perhaps if the Palestinian terrorists didn’t insist on dressing like civilians and using civilian buildings and people as cover, it’d be a bit easier to distinguish between the two. You want a link to a video of Palestinians firing a mortar from a school yard? Got that. You want pictures of terrorists surrounding themselves with children before they open fire? Got that. You want pictures of terrorists using children to attack Israelis directly? Got that, too.

    And the Palestinians absolutely do not discriminate between civilians and military in Israel. In fact, their sophistry says that since Israel has mandatory military conscription, every single person is a member of the military — past, present, or future — and therefore a legitimate target. Sounds like a bit of “collective punishment” to me.

    (Putting on thoughtful hat) What I think the real problem here is that the Palestinians are definitely the “underdog” here, and that gives them a certain credibility with the left. Well, not just the left, but a lot of Americans. What gets overlooked is that yeah, they’re smaller and weaker, but they’re still, in many ways, “the bad guys.” They do despicable things. They have genocidal goals. But since they’re weaker and have suffered in the past, they’re forgiven a lot. (hat off, back to passion.)

    BS. Everyone has suffered, everyone has grievances. I save my sympathy for those who act like they deserve it. On 9/11, Palestinians were dancing in the streets. They backed Saddam in both wars. And they freely elected Hamas — a terrorist group — as their legitimate government.

    Oh, and the “apartheid” example only focused on how they’d treat Jews in a hypothetical Palestinian state. We already see, in Gaza, how Hamas treats women and Christians. Homosexuality is a capital crime, just like “doing business with a Jew.”

    Sure, let’s give them a state! That’s exactly what the world needs!

    J.

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  34. ponce says:

    Sure, let’s give them a state! That’s exactly what the world needs!

    Jay Tea:

    You and your fellow fringe right supporters of Israels’ religious fanatics don’t understand that it’s not okay to steal someone’s land just because you don’t like them.

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  35. @Jay Tea:

    And the Palestinians absolutely do not discriminate between civilians and military in Israel.

    Again, Palestinian militants. Not Palestinians.

    Suppose you were a Palestinian living in Gaza right now. What exactly do you think Israel expects you to do? You’re supposedly a citizen of Israel, but despite having commited no crimes, you’ve been confied to what amounts to a prison camp. You can’t leave. You’re disarmed so you can’t resist Hamas. You can’t engage in any sort of peaceful employment. And every so often Israel sends in hellicopters or jets to start launching bombs and rockets all over the place.

    Are the Palestians supposed to just bend over and go “Oh, thank you Israel! Please beat me some more!”?

    Israel doesn’t really want peace, they want to be right. And unfortunately “Well at least I was right” is the world’s most popular epitaph.

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  36. @Jay Tea:

    Meanwhile, the Palestinians in the West Bank HAVE stopped the rocket attacks on Israel and what did it get them? Israel has taken advantage of the peace to resume stealing lands from the Palestinians. So again, what’s the incentive? Just sit around until we’re done stealing from you in hopes we’ll get tired someday while you still have something left?

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  37. Tano says:

    @Jay Tea:

    But since they’re weaker and have suffered in the past, they’re forgiven a lot.

    That, of course, is precisely why the Israelis get away with so much, especially in the eyes of Americans.

    Israel, despite being our ally, has acted contrary to our wishes, our position, and our principles for 40 years – by continuing their illegal settlement of occupied territory – while still collecting billions of our dollars in aid every year.

    This activity, not the response to it, is the single greatest obstacle to peace. Lets face it, the Israeli factions that dominate their policy simply do not want peace. Their dream is to be able somehow to cleanse the West Bank of Palestinians, so they can build their “Greater Israel”, but failing that, an extension of the status quo – occupation – for as long as possible.

    It is not, in any way, in our interest to be supportive of that.

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  38. Jay Tea says:

    @Stormy Dragon: No, Palestinians. Specifically, the duly elected and legal government of the Gaza Strip. Ever read the Hamas charter? It explicitly calls for genocide. See for yourself:

    http://www.mideastweb.org/hamas.htm

    Some choice excerpts:

    “Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it.” (The Martyr, Imam Hassan al-Banna, of blessed memory).

    “The Islamic Resistance Movement believes that the land of Palestine is an Islamic Waqf consecrated for future Muslim generations until Judgement Day. It, or any part of it, should not be squandered: it, or any part of it, should not be given up. ”

    “Allah is its target, the Prophet is its model, the Koran its constitution: Jihad is its path and death for the sake of Allah is the loftiest of its wishes. ”

    “There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavors.”

    “Initiatives, and so-called peaceful solutions and international conferences, are in contradiction to the principles of the Islamic Resistance Movement. Abusing any part of Palestine is abuse directed against part of religion.”

    “After Palestine, the Zionists aspire to expand from the Nile to the Euphrates. When they will have digested the region they overtook, they will aspire to further expansion, and so on. Their plan is embodied in the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion”, and their present conduct is the best proof of what we are saying.”

    “Under the wing of Islam, it is possible for the followers of the three religions – Islam, Christianity and Judaism – to coexist in peace and quiet with each other. Peace and quiet would not be possible except under the wing of Islam. Past and present history are the best witness to that.

    It is the duty of the followers of other religions to stop disputing the sovereignty of Islam in this region, because the day these followers should take over there will be nothing but carnage, displacement and terror. Everyone of them is at variance with his fellow-religionists, not to speak about followers of other religionists. Past and present history are full of examples to prove this fact.”

    Again, that is from the charter of Hamas, the duly elected and legal government of the Gaza Strip — and, arguably, the West Bank, but no one seems interested in pushing that right now. This is the group the Palestinian civilians chose, overwhelmingly, to represent them.

    If you DON’T judge the people by their representatives, then you disrespect the electoral process that put Hamas in power, and insult the Palestinians by saying that they aren’t capable of understanding just what they did by electing Hamas. You really wanna be so condescending towards these poor brown people who simply can’t control themselves or be responsible for their actions, that’s your call.

    J.

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  39. PJ says:

    @Jay Tea:

    This is the group the Palestinian civilians chose, overwhelmingly, to represent them.

    Really.

    In the last election in the Gaza Strip, Hamas got 44.45%, Fatah got 41.43%.
    Hamas didn’t even win a majority of the popular vote.

    Not sure how you can get overwhelmingly from that…

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  40. PJ says:

    In the last election in the Gaza StripPalestinian territories, Hamas got 44.45%, Fatah got 41.43%.
    Hamas didn’t even win a majority of the popular vote.

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  41. @PJ:

    Not to mention there has not been an election there in nearly seven years now, and the Palestinians have on several occasions attempted to overthrow Hamas. Israel (as usual) wants to have it both ways here. The Palestinians are to blame that Hamas siezed power in Gaza even though Israel has blocked every attempt by them to stop it.

    And don’t forget Israel still claims sovereignity over the Gaza strip. If a terrorist organization is operating out of Israel’s territory, isn’t that the IDF’s responsibility to deal with?

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  42. Jay Tea says:

    @PJ: My thanks for the correction on the voting — I wasn’t thinking of the turnout, but the results — Hamas ended up with 74 of 132 seats in the legislature, taking effective control with over 55% of the seats. But the point remains: Hamas won in an election all observers rated as fair and honest.

    Stormy: just how have you reacted to the times Israel has attempted to hit back at Hamas? By your previous arguments, I presume you opposed the Gaza counterattack of 2008-2009. By the way, here’s a line from the Wikipedia entry on that conflict, summing up facts well established elsewhere:

    Various sites being used as weapons depots were struck: police stations, schools, hospitals, UN warehouses, mosques, various Hamas government buildings and other buildings.

    There was also a Hamas element that took over a UN girls’ school and started firing mortar shells at Israel. When Israel attacks police stations, schools, hospitals, UN warehouses, mosques, and government buildings being used as weapons depots and attack points count as “attacks on civilians?”

    J.

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  43. To make that more clear: until such time as Israel allows the creation of a soverieng Palestian state, everyone born within the Gaza Strip and the West Bank is an Israeli citizen. Indeed, Israel itself acknowledged this when it signed the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness.

    Israel has an obligation to defend the Palestinians from Hamas as much as it does to defend Jewish Israeli’s from them. Instead their view seems to be that Hamas should be permitted to terrorize Palestinians to their hearts content as long as it refrains from attacking “real people”.

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  44. @Jay Tea:

    By your previous arguments, I presume you opposed the Gaza counterattack of 2008-2009.

    Had Israel actually been trying to eliminate Hamas’s control of the Gaza strip I would support it. But as it was largely just flying around blowing stuff to punish the residents for something they had no control over, no I did not.

    To make an analogy to a domestic incident, when Philadelphia had to arrest MOVE in 1985, that was a good thing. They fact they decided to do so by firebombing several neighborhoods of the city was not.

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  45. PJ says:

    @Jay Tea:

    My thanks for the correction on the voting — I wasn’t thinking of the turnout, but the results — Hamas ended up with 74 of 132 seats in the legislature, taking effective control with over 55% of the seats. But the point remains: Hamas won in an election all observers rated as fair and honest.

    Is there overwhelming support for Hamas in the Palestinian territories? Yes or no?

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  46. Jay Tea says:

    @Stormy Dragon: Had Israel actually been trying to eliminate Hamas’s control of the Gaza strip I would support it.

    Let me predict how that would turn out: the very same people urging the US to have dealings with Hamas would be howling about how Israel was attempting to overthrow the legal government of Gaza and undo the elections.

    And as far as their support… I normally ignore polls and surveys as a matter of principle, but I stumbled across a 2007 Pew poll that showed that 62% of Palestinians hold favorable opinions of Hamas.

    And even if Hamas’ hold on power is based on the old “one man, one vote, one time” principle, the Palestinians still gave them power and legitimacy willingly.

    J.

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  47. PJ says:

    In the last election 74.6% voted.
    Hamas got 44.45%.

    That is 33.2% of those allowed to vote.

    Palestinian civilians chose, overwhelmingly, Hamas to represent them?

    Yeah.

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  48. @Jay Tea:

    And even if Hamas’ hold on power is based on the old “one man, one vote, one time” principle, the Palestinians still gave them power and legitimacy willingly.

    Yes, but making a bad choice when voting is generally not a capital offense.

    And as I said earlier, Israel seems more interested in being right than actually solving the problem. Even if we decide it’s all the Palestinians fault for voting for Hamas, how does Israel’s current policy get things any closer to a solution? There’s simply no incentive right now for the Palestinians to participate in the peace process.

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  49. Jay Tea says:

    @PJ: You wanna cite a group or faction that has a better claim to represent the will of the Palestinians?

    J.

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  50. Jay Tea says:

    @Stormy Dragon: There’s a theory that “being stupid should be painful.” And letting people live with the consequences of their actions. They knew exactly who Hamas was and what they stood for when they voted, and voted anyway.

    J.

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  51. Jay Tea says:

    @PJ: Hey, while you’re playing with numbers, you wanna apply the same methodology to Obama? I need some fresh Obama-bashing material…

    J.

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  52. Jay Tea says:

    @Stormy Dragon: Yassir Arafat was offered 90% of what he wanted at one point. Instead of using that as a starting point for negotiations, he ordered the 2nd Intifadah.

    Hamas is still holding Gilad Shalit illegally — in several sense of the world. And is still routinely bombarding Israel with rockets and missiles. They recently took out a school bus with a guided anti-tank missile.

    Every round of negotiations has always begun with Israel making “good faith gestures.” For a change, how about seeing the Palestinians demonstrate a bit of good faith? I don’t recall that ever happening…

    J.

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  53. @Jay Tea:

    For a change, how about seeing the Palestinians demonstrate a bit of good faith?

    Good faith like what?

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  54. @Jay Tea:

    There’s a theory that “being stupid should be painful.” And letting people live with the consequences of their actions. They knew exactly who Hamas was and what they stood for when they voted, and voted anyway.

    See what I mean? It’s not about keeping Israel safe. It’s about making sure Palestinians have been sufficiently punished for their percieved sins.

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  55. PJ says:

    @Jay Tea:

    You wanna cite a group or faction that has a better claim to represent the will of the Palestinians?

    How about Fatah? The party that’s governing the West Bank? Which has a larger population than Gaza? Which most countries recognize as the legitimate government? The party that is having talks with Israel?

    Hey, while you’re playing with numbers, you wanna apply the same methodology to Obama? I need some fresh Obama-bashing material…

    I would never argue, as you do with Hamas, that American citizens chose overwhelmingly for Obama to represent them. About 62% of those eligible to vote voted and Obama received 52.9% of the votes. That’s 32.8% of eligible voters.

    Would you?

    But I will give you one difference. Obama did receive a majority of the votes cast.

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  56. ponce says:

    Hamas is still holding Gilad Shalit…

    And Israel is currently holding over 1000 Palestinians without charges.

    Jay Tea has yet to come up with any justification for Israeli theft of Palestinian land.

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  57. michael reynolds says:

    A couple of points:

    1) It’s beyond absurd for us of all people to demand that “stolen land” be returned in each and every case. Most of this planet was stolen by one people from another. And 100% of our own country was stolen. The Israelis stole a sliver of land. We stole an entire continent. And we slaughtered whoever got in our way to do it. Are we giving California back to the Mexicans and Ohio back to the Indians? No? Then maybe we should shut up about that.

    2) That said, it would be great if idiot right-wing religious nuts stopped empowering Likud. We Jews were better off when people like that hated us overtly, rather than doing whatever they can to speed Armageddon by encouraging the most intransigent elements of Israeli society. Likud’s strongest American supporters long for the day when they can sit in heaven and watch Jews burning in hell, so f— off.

    3) I’ve always supported Israel. But Likud and their American amen corner have severely diminished that support. I support a free, democratic Israel, not a settler state bent on humiliating Arabs. 20 years ago or 10 years ago Israel was a “go to the mat” issue for me. Now Israel is just one more ingrate state with their hand out for my money.

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  58. ponce says:

    Are we giving California back to the Mexicans

    America acquired California from Mexico via treaty and we offered full U.S. citizenship to any Mexican nationals living in California and we recognized their land claims, too.

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  59. @michael reynolds:

    By stolen land, I’m not referring to the war in 1948 or even 1967. I’m referring to the ongoing process of “settlement expansion”. The euphemism makes it sound like the “settlers” are moving into unused land out in the wilderness. In reality most of these settlements are on developed land and the expansion process involves driving off the current inhabitants. As long as Israel maintains a policy were one group of citizens is free to rob the other group at will, it’s not something I can support.

    This does not justify Palestinian terrorism, but I don’t have to pick one or the other. They can both be wrong.

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  60. michael reynolds says:

    @ponce:
    Um, what?

    We started a war with Mexico, invaded and occupied their capital. We rammed a treaty down their throats at the point of a gun.

    Among those who opposed that war (but fought in it) were Ulysses S. Grant who stated quite clearly what everyone knew: it was a bogus war manufactured for the purpose of stealing half of Mexico.

    From Wiki:

    The California Republic was short lived. The same year marked the outbreak of the Mexican-American War (1846–1848). When Commodore John D. Sloat of the United States Navy sailed into Monterey Bay and began the military occupation of California by the United States, Northern California capitulated in less than a month to the U.S. forces. After a series of defensive battles in Southern California, including The Siege of Los Angeles, the Battle of Dominguez Rancho, the Battle of San Pasqual, the Battle of Rio San Gabriel and the Battle of La Mesa, the Treaty of Cahuenga was signed by the Californios on January 13, 1847, securing American control in California. Following the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo that ended the war, the region was divided between Mexico and the U.S.; the western territory of Alta California, was to become the U.S. state of California, and Arizona, Nevada, Colorado and Utah became U.S. Territories, while the lower region of California, the Baja Peninsula, remained in the possession of Mexico.

    The so-called treaty occurred while we were at war with Mexico and subsequent to our military occupation.

    The essential difference between us and the Israelis is that they at least were attacked by the people whose land they eventually took. We were not attacked by the people whose land we took.

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  61. michael reynolds says:

    @Stormy Dragon:
    I agree. I think the settlement policy undercuts Israel’s claims.

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  62. ponce says:

    The essential difference between us and the Israelis is

    ,,,the Israelis are stealing land and denying the right to vote to the inhabitants of the land they’re stealing.

    Michael,

    You can’t pretend that Israel’s slow theft of the West Bank is some kind of every day occurrence.

    It is as morally repugnant as Apartheid was.

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  63. Jay Tea says:

    @Stormy Dragon: See what I mean? It’s not about keeping Israel safe. It’s about making sure Palestinians have been sufficiently punished for their percieved sins.

    I would say it’s not so much “punishing” as “not rewarding.” We said, right up to the elections, that in no way would we deal with Hamas as long as they were a terrorist organization. When they won the election, they didn’t change from a terrorist group to a legitimate government; they simply added the title. They’re now both.

    They know what they need to do to change things — follow the PLO’s lead when they became the PA. They won’t. So we stick to our position. No punishment, just standing our ground.

    J.

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  64. Y. Villalobos says:

    @Tlaloc: It’s obviously not in the US national interest to unconditionally support Israel, but then let’s recognize the power of jewish lobbies within, particularly in financing political campaigns at every level.

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  65. Jay Tea says:

    You know, I’m reconsidering. Perhaps we should give more sympathy to other countries in the region that have a stronger record of respecting human rights. Countries like…

    um…

    er…

    Maybe.. no…

    OK, I’m stuck. Throw a guy a bone here?

    J.

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  66. michael reynolds says:

    @ponce:
    I don’t think I was pretending it wasn’t a problem. I said explicitly I don’t support some sort of settler state.

    I’m just pointing out that appropriation of land did not begin and end with Israel. And that we, as the people who stole most of a continent, should be aware of our own “intransigence” on this. We pretty clearly don’t intend to give anything back. And of course we managed to murder, drive off, or give fatal diseases to, most of the people whose land we stole.

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  67. @Jay Tea:

    They know what they need to do to change things — follow the PLO’s lead when they became the PA. They won’t. So we stick to our position. No punishment, just standing our ground.

    I realize you think there’s some sort of muslim hivemind that causes them all act together, but this isn’t the case. I’m not saying Israel needs to deal with Hamas. But there are non-Hamas Palestinians. Why is Israel not working with them to get rid of Hamas?

    Also, Hamas only explains the Gaza Strip. Hamas has no significant presence on the West Bank, yet there’s been no real progress toward peace there either.

    Hamas isn’t a reason; it’s an excuse.

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  68. @Jay Tea:

    You know, I’m reconsidering. Perhaps we should give more sympathy to other countries in the region that have a stronger record of respecting human rights.

    Because it’s okay to be a thief as long as your neighbor is a murderer.

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  69. PJ says:

    @michael reynolds:

    I’m just pointing out that appropriation of land did not begin and end with Israel. And that we, as the people who stole most of a continent, should be aware of our own “intransigence” on this. We pretty clearly don’t intend to give anything back. And of course we managed to murder, drive off, or give fatal diseases to, most of the people whose land we stole.

    To put it simply, things have changed, you can’t do today, what was done yesterday.

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  70. ponce says:

    I’m just pointing out that appropriation of land did not begin and end with Israel.

    How unfortunate for the Israeli religious fanatics bent on using fairy tales to justify their attempts to steal their neighbors land that they were born into a world that now frowns on such deviant behavior.

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  71. Racehorse says:

    @Brett: As a life long southerner, your idea of separating the south from the north sounds intriguing.

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  72. An Interested Party says:

    As a life long southerner, your idea of separating the south from the north sounds intriguing.

    A bunch of traitors tried that once and they failed miserably…

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